2 Kings 18:34
Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad?—Sargon, Sennacherib’s father, had reduced these two cities. The reference to “my fathers” in 2Kings 19:12, and the use of the general term, “the king of Assyria” (2Kings 18:33), are against Schrader’s supposition that the historian has confused the campaigns of Sargon with those of Sennacherib. (Comp. 2Kings 17:24; 2Kings 17:30.) Sargon has recorded that Ya-u-bi-h-di, king of the Hamathites, induced Arpad, Simyra, Damascus, and Samaria to join his revolt against Assyria. The confederacy was defeated at Qarqar, and Yahubihdi taken and flayed alive (B.C. 720).

Arpad.Tell-Erfâd, about ten miles north of Aleppo. The question, “Where are the gods?” &c, may imply that they had been annihilated along with their temples and statues. (Comp. Job 14:10.) Sometimes, indeed, the Assyrians carried off the idols of conquered nations, but this need not have been an invariable practice, and Isaiah 10:11 seems to imply that they were sometimes destroyed, as was likely to be the case when a city was taken by storm, and committed to the flames.

Sepharvaim.—See on 2Kings 17:24. This city revolted with Babylon against Sargon at the beginning of his reign. No account of its fall has been preserved.

Hena, and Ivah.—These names do not occur in Isaiah, and are wholly unknown. The words look like two Hebrew verbs (“He hath caused to wander, and overturned”), as at present vocalised; and the Targum translates them as a question: “Have they not made them wander, and carried them away?” Hoffmann thinks the two words are really one (the niphal participle of ‘av’av), and should be rendered as an epithet of Sepharvaim, “the utterly perverted;” a nickname given it by the Assyrians, because of its follyin revolting again after its former subjugation. But the mention of Ava and the Avites (2Kings 17:24; 2Kings 17:31) is in favour of the same proper name here, and the LXX., Syriac, Arabic, and Vulg. agree with this. (The Syriac reads Avva, as in chap. 7:24.)

Have they delivered Samaria . . .?—Rather, How much less have they (i.e., its gods) delivered Samaria out of mine hand! So Ewald, Gram., § 256. The Syriac, Vulg., and Arabic render as the Authorised Version. Perhaps the original reading was not kȋ; but hakî:Is it the case that they have delivered?” &c. (Job 6:22).

Out of mine hand?—Sennacherib speaks as if he were one with his father, a circumstance which lends some support to the suggestion of Schrader, that the successive Assyrian invasions were not kept quite distinct in the Hebrew tradition. If so, the year 714 B.C. , assigned as the date of the present expedition (2Kings 18:13), may really be that of an earlier expedition under Sargon, who, in fact, invaded the West in 720, 715, and 711 (or 709) B.C.

2 Kings 18:34-35. Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? — These were cities or countries which the kings of Assyria had conquered, as were the other places here mentioned. And therefore Rab-shakeh argued that the gods of Assyria were more powerful than the gods of any other nation. Who are they, among all the gods of the countries, &c. — He desires them to produce an instance of one god that had been able to save his country, when his master invaded it. And by this he endeavours to persuade them, that it would be their wisdom to deliver up their city to him, insomuch as their God would not be able to preserve it, unless he could do more than any other god had done; which he concluded was unlikely.18:17-37 Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is, therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiah's nobles held their peace. There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and fervent prayer.Arpad was situated somewhere in southern Syria; but it is impossible to fix its exact position. Sargon mentions it in an inscription as joining with Hamath in an act of rebellion, which he chastised. It was probably the capture and destruction of these two cities on this occasion which caused them to be mentioned together here (and in 2 Kings 19:13, and again in Isaiah 10:9). Sennacherib adduces late examples of the inability of the nations' gods to protect their cities. On the other cities mentioned in this verse, see 2 Kings 17:24 notes. 27. that they may eat, &c.—This was designed to show the dreadful extremities to which, in the threatened siege, the people of Jerusalem would be reduced. Hamath and Arpad; of which see Jeremiah 49:23.

Sepharvaim; of which see 2 Kings 17:21.

Hena and Ivah; the names, either,

1. Of idol gods. But why should only these two be named, and not the gods of the other places here mentioned? Or rather,

2. Of cities or countries, as is manifest from 2 Kings 19:13, where those words are repeated among other places, whose kings are there mentioned, and where they are rendered, of Hena and Ivah, as they should be here also, the words in the Hebrew being the very same.

Have they delivered Samaria? i.e.

1. Either the gods here mentioned, which, together with other idols, were worshipped in Samaria. Or,

2. Their gods; which is easily understood from the foregoing words. And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem,.... Notwithstanding he took the above large sum of money of him, so false and deceitful was he: these were three generals of his army, whom he sent to besiege Jerusalem, while he continued the siege of Lachish; only Rabshakeh is mentioned in Isaiah 36:2 he being perhaps chief general, and the principal speaker; whose speech, to the end of this chapter, intended to intimidate Hezekiah, and dishearten his people, with some circumstances which attended it, are recorded word for word in Isaiah 36:1 throughout; See Gill on Isaiah 36:1 and notes on that chapter. Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. gods of Hamath, and of Arpad] Of Hamath, see above on 2 Kings 17:24. Arpad is always spoken of in connexion with Hamath, but the site of the place has not been determined, nor any trace of the name found except in the Bible (2 Kings 19:13; Jeremiah 49:23; Isaiah 10:9; Isaiah 36:19; Isaiah 37:13). In the two last-named places A.V. writes the word Arphad, and the same spelling is found 2Es 9:26 as a various reading for Ardath. From the passage in Jeremiah above quoted it is manifest that like Hamath, it belonged to Damascus, for it is included in the prophecy concerning that city. The chief god of Damascus was Rimmon.

the gods of Sepharvaim] See above, on 2 Kings 17:31.

Hena] The LXX. represents the name by Ἀνὰ. From the combination of the gods of Sepharvaim with those of the other two places here mentioned, we should gather that the worship in all three was the same. This gives support to the conjecture which identifies Hena with Ana, a city not far from Sepharvaim. Other opinions favour the identification of the place with Anat, an island in the Euphrates, near its union with the Khabour. This also would be not very remote from Sepharvaim.

and Ivah] R.V. Ivvah. This place is supposed to be the same with Ava (R.V. Avvah) in 2 Kings 17:24 above, where see note. If it be identified, as has been suggested, with Ahava, all the three places lie close together. ‘Hena’ and ‘Ivah’ are omitted from the parallel passage in Isaiah.

have they delivered Samaria] Among the gods of the countries, the gods of Samaria have been in Rab-shakeh’s thoughts though he has not expressly spoken of them. But here, as if he had done so, he asks: Have they delivered Samaria?Verse 34. - Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? Hamath and Arpad had been recently conquered (about B.C. 720) by Sargon (see the 'Epouym Canon,' pp. 126-128). Of the latter city but little is known, net even its site. We find it generally connected with Damascus (Jeremiah 49:23; ' Eponym Canon,' pp. 68, 126) and Hamath (2 Kings 19:13; Isaiah 10:9; Isaiah 36:19; Isaiah 37:13; Jeremiah 49:23; ' Eponym Canon,' p. 126), and may conjecture that it lay between them, either in Coele-Syria or in the Anti-Libanus. (On Hamath, see the commentary upon 2 Kings 14:25; and for its special god, Ashima, see that on 2 Kings 17:30.) Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hens, and Ivah? (On the cities and gods of Sepharvaim and Ivah (or Ava), see the comment on 2 Kings 17:24 and 2 Kings 19:13; Isaiah 38:13), is probably Allah on the Euphrates, about seventy miles above Hit (Ivah). Nothing is known of its gods. Probably Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah had rebelled in conjunction, and been re-conquered at no distant date. Sargon mentions in his annals that he besieged and took Sepharvaim (Sippara) in his twelfth year ( B.C. 710). Have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? There is probably some compression of the original narrative here. The meaning is, "Have they delivered their several cities, or has the god of Samaria delivered his city out of my hand?" No god had hitherto delivered any city which the Assyrians had attacked. ויּעמוד: not, he stood up, raised himself (Ges.), or came forward (Then.), but he stationed himself, assumed an attitude calculated for effect, and spoke to the people with a loud voice in the Jewish language, telling them to listen to the king of Assyria and not to be led astray by Hezekiah, i.e., to be persuaded to defend the city any longer, since neither Hezekiah nor Jehovah could defend them from the might of Sennacherib. אל־ישּׁיא: let not Hezekiah deceive you, sc. by pretending to be able to defend or save Jerusalem. In מיּדו, "out of his (the Assyrian's) hand," the speaker ceases to speak in the name of his king. On the construction of the passive תּנּתן with את־העיר, see Ewald, 277, d., although in the instance before us he proposes to expunge the את after Isaiah 36:15.
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